Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that Dublin is a constantly growing city and needs a fire service with the equipment, the staff, the capacity and the capability to respond to fires and all potential incidents, adding that the current situation risks putting Dublin Fire Brigade in an impossible position in the event of simultaneous major incidents.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Teachta Crowe said:

“It is a daily occurrence where fire service vehicles are unavailable for deployment due to insufficient firefighters to crew them. Staff constantly battle exhaustion because of repeated requests to work overtime and cover staff shortages. That is what I am told by the firefighters. Simply put, we are putting our firefighters and the public in danger. We are gambling with people’s lives every day. This is not a new issue.

“Dublin Fire Brigade has been highlighting severe understaffing and Government inaction for years. Staff shortages directly affect the emergency response services such as Dublin Fire Brigade. That must be prioritised. Understaffing or delayed response times put the public at serious risk. On-call vehicles leaving stations with less than a full complement of firefighters puts crews and the public at risk.

“Dublin is constantly growing. It is a city of well over one million inhabitants and buildings are getting higher. We need a fire service that has the equipment, the staff, the capacity and the capability to respond to fires and all potential incidents.

“There was a major apartment block fire in Tallaght last year which required the bulk of Dublin Fire Brigade’s resources on site to deal with the fire and the evacuation of residents. Had there been another major incident such as bad crash on the M50 or a fire on the northside, the results would have been disastrous, with Dublin Fire Brigade forced to triage and divert resources in the face of a serious threat to life.

“We must establish an Oireachtas committee to conduct a full and independent review of how the national fire service is delivered across the State. It should be a short, sharp review of the situation which would interview key stakeholders.

“We must get to grips with this and put the solution in place before another year passes. The current situation is putting crews and the public at risk. It is putting the lives of everyone at risk.”